Western Union to pay $586M to victims who sent money in scams

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wire transfer scams are big business, and people in New Mexico are being targeted every day. Now, some people who used Western Union are getting some of their money back.

Attorney General Hector Balderas said it was a joint investigation with 49 states. Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to people who used Western Union to send money as part of a scam, and New Mexico will be getting a piece of that payout.

Balderas said this settlement holds businesses that deal with transferring money accountable when people are scammed using their services. He said those businesses have an obligation to protect customers and their information, and hopes it will force them to be more vigilant about protecting its consumers.

“This is a good historic move to good corporate stewardship,” said Balderas. “There are still trusting grandmothers, there are too many trusting individuals who work hard for their money.”

Balderas said it is difficult to estimate how much money New Mexicans get scammed out of every year. However, he said New Mexico has a high poor and elderly population — two of the most vulnerable groups.

“Try to stay away from the internet or doing business over the phone,” said Balderas. “It is better to generate your own direct contact. It’s a big business, it’s an international market.”

The Attorney General said they are still negotiating with the Department of Justice to decide how much of that settlement the state will get. As part of that payout, Western Union is required to put new anti-fraud measures in place, which includes providing more training for employees to recognize suspicious transactions.

New Mexicans who believe they have been impacted can contact the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General at 1-844-255-9210.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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